Is Wikipedia ripe for PR?

Is Wikipedia ripe for PR?

Summary:  Russell Shaw has an interesting tip for PR types, set up a Wikipedia entry and keep it updated. He points to the Skype article on Wikipedia -- which is certainly a detailed article on Skype, and looks like it is fairly neutral, as opposed to Wikipedia Spam.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Tech Industry
8

150px-Wikipedia-logo.png Russell Shaw has an interesting tip for PR types, set up a Wikipedia entry and keep it updated. He points to the Skype article on Wikipedia -- which is certainly a detailed article on Skype, and looks like it is fairly neutral, as opposed to Wikipedia Spam.

I have to admit, Shaw's suggestion is a good one -- Wikipedia is fast becoming a widely-respected source of information. It's even quoted in news stories about technology, and is updated in real time to reflect world events. Whatever quibbles some may have about the nature of community editing, Wikipedia is here to stay and it will only become more influential as time goes on -- not less. Companies that want to tell their story (ie, any company that wants to stay in business...) would do well to make sure their voice is heard on Wikipedia entries about their products, as well as more generic entries about their products as well.

However, I also have to admit a bit of repulsion at the thought that every new media is immediately examined for its suitability for pushing advertising at the general populace. Advertising (spam) has seriously hindered the usefulness of e-mail, threatened to make Web-browsing much less fun due to pop-ups and other noxious forms of online advertising (thank goodness Linux users are still more or less free of adware and spyware), and most people who run blogs have discovered that unscrupulous advertisers are keen on seeding their comments with spam as well -- the list goes on and on. Advertising has been glomming on to new technologies almost as quickly as they can be invented, probably as far back as the first printing press, so it's little surprise that Wikimedia would be an attractive target for marketers.

What I like about Wikipedia, however, is the fact that it's not a form of one-way communication. If Company A decides to write up an entry that's self-serving and unrealistic about their product or inserts self-serving content into other Wikipedia entries, Wikipedia editors (pretty much any interested Wikipedia reader) can deal with it by voting for the content to be deleted, or rewrite it from a neutral point of view. Unlike other media, no one gets the last word on the Wikipedia.

As the Wikipedia page on advertising also points out, companies may even contribute useful information in attempts at self-promotion. If the PR folks can leave behind the marketing-speak and contribute just the facts about their company and/or products, it might actually be a benefit to Wikipedia instead of just another form of spam.

Topic: Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Warning

    Wikipedia lets anyone contribute. That means your enemies can contribute as well.

    If you go in and write a PR blurb about your company or its products, I guarantee your company's foes will hear about it, and all your dirty laundry will come out pronto.

    The idea is superficially sound, but potentially very dangerous.

    If you are to enter something into Wikipedia, don't let it sound like your PR people wrote it. Please.
    DanaBlankenhorn
  • Widely Respected?

    If it's widely repsected it's just because it's an easy way for journalists to look up information and pretend it's accurate.

    If you actually take the time to fact check a typical Wikipedia entry, you'll find it full of errors.

    Wikipedia might be acceptable for an overall synopsis of a topic, but for any kind of precise detail, forget it.

    Wikipedia is "respected" for two reasons:

    1- Geeks like to think they're important.

    2- Journalists are lazy.
    baggins_z
    • Actually, Wiki is pretty good...

      Actually, so long as you avoid the obvious places
      where partisans are routinely pushing "Point-of-
      View", Wiki is pretty good. Depth of coverage
      varies, of course, with geek-friendly topics
      like computers, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy having much
      deeper coverage than, say, Ancient Etruscan Art,
      but what's there is usually pretty good. Articles
      about the hard sciences are usually reasonably
      accurate and complete.

      The places where it's hopeless are the places
      you'd expect: God, Guns, and Gays where folks
      on certain sides of the issues simply can't
      stand the posting of the unvarnished truth.
      Atlant
      • Yup.

        "The places where it's hopeless are the places
        you'd expect: God, Guns, and Gays where folks
        on certain sides of the issues simply can't
        stand the posting of the unvarnished truth."

        Just like anywhere else.
        knowprose
    • Then...

      this article is meaningless for you. :-)
      knowprose
  • Err, I guess trackbacks aren't working

    http://www.knowprose.com/node/2865
    knowprose
  • Wikicompany

    Another interesting Wiki site is http://wikicompany.org

    That site is a global business directory.
    Foo_z
  • MyWikiBiz authors corporate pages

    I don't know if anybody's familiar with it, but there's a new service out there that will author a Wikipedia article for businesses and organizations lacking one. It's called MyWikiBiz.com.
    thekohser